|Loving the trails|
YAY, another 24 hour!
Croatan 24 Hour is a great 24 hour put on by Brandon Wilson and his family. There is absolutely phenomenal support (The aid stations is amongst the best of any ultra I've ever run at - veggie & chicken broth, potato soup, turkey, potatoes, grits, grilled cheese, burgers, veggie burgers, sandwiches, various kinds of cake, tons of snacks, and all the usual traditional ultra fuel.).
The course has some slight uphills on some of the bridges, and there was one "hill." It's not bad but when it turned dark, I would walk it some of the time. But a lot of the times, I ran the beast. The course is very runnable - I think it is as equally hard as Hinson Lake. It is really pretty, as you are running through swamps and you get to see water and lots of trees, though it can get spooky at night. (Think hallucinations of witches, ghost hands touching you, shrunken heads.)
I was trying for 120 miles, but missed it by just over 10 miles. Booo. Not my day, but I still had a good time hanging out with lots of great friends.
I checked in to get a neat hoodie instead of tech tee (Sweet! I know what my new work-at-home top will be.), and Brandon showed me to the yellow bib area where I could stash my stuff in a tent, which made things a little simpler. (Yellow bib were runners who were being tracked closely, as they had hopes of making the national team/elite runners.) Also, got to have the awesome Jonathan Savage give me blister advice, and his son help me with little things like replacing batteries in my headlamp and opening containers of coconut water. (He is a mechanical engineering and physics college student; I may as well take advantage of that.) It was really great.
|Enjoying the view|
I started off, feeling like my tummy was a little off. I ran with various people, making new friends, chatting with old friends. It was a blast. I ate vanilla gus and drank water. Because it was a no-cup (for water and gatorade) race, everyone left their handhelds by the aid station and a lot of people just drank a little from their bottles whenever they felt like it.
4:12 marathon. Not bad. I ate carefully, but still felt bleh. 5:17 50k. Keep going.
OMG my blister. The one from The Hard Way returned. I changed my socks and shoes and walked my cramped self back towards the course, where one of the runners asked me how I was. Dan was dropping. I mentioned my blister.
"Want me to pop it?"
"I don't know if you can. There's a callous on top."
What did I have to lose but time? I took off my sock and shoe and showed it. Soon, he was jamming a needle into my toe and squeezing it flat while I squeezed Paula's friend's hand so hard I thought I was going to break it. He put some lube on my tootsie and I hobbled off.
And then I ran. Again. Wooohooo!
The day grew warm, but not too warm. Comfortably warm. It was sunny and I squinted a little below my visor. There were birthday spanks every time I passed Frank Lilley, chatting with Susan and Fred Dumar whenever I passed them, cheers for Paula. It was fun.
Dusk. I changed my outfit completely; I was sweat-soaked. I put on a long sleeved tee, which I ran in most of the race. I was moving enough and it never got that cold, though around 6am, I added an extra shirt.
On one of my first headlamp routes, I thought my tummy started feeling worse. I had some ginger ale.
Yes, it's only a 1.36 mile course BUT OH MY GOD IT WAS SO LONG WHERE IS THE PORT-A-POTTY? I thought abt running in the bushes, but I didn't want to use my gloves (They were my warm ones.) or my socks. And there were not enough bushes in the entire Croatan National Forest for what I needed for.
I ran as fast as I could, hoping, suffering.
And then - relief in the Port-a-Potty. I let myself stay in there for one Bob Marley song and then I was out. Ugh. I took Immodium and went to the aid station for more ginger ale. One of the volunteers gave me a natural gu, and then I got a bowl of grits with some broth (for extra nutrition). I walked a lap with Paula, eating my grits, feeling better but not great. Oh, how I hate my tummy troubles.
I began running again, slower. I hallucinated. Witches. Curled-up dogs. Wolves. Witches. All sorts of things I now can't remember, which is probably a good thing.
I ran alone, with music. I ran with Paula. I ran with various people. I tried to keep food down, which was hard as I had zero appetite. My body hurt all over. I appreciated that the port-a-potties had handles to lower yourself down to pee. Ouch.
I tried to not hallucinate. I failed at that. I smiled. I waved. I cheered everyone on. I had fun.
I ran with a woman I had met at Hinson, Melissa, who was getting revenge for not running 100 at Hinson. We ended up running until the end, and as I suspected the race for 3rd place was close, I convinced her to run with me until the finish. Which she did. And got third place.
Mosi won for the men. Connie won for the women (after being on a cot under a sleeping bag for 2 hours, and having people beg her to get an IV). I was second woman, which was nice. I won a military hat from WWII. My grandpas, were they alive, would like it.
|the hat & the buckle|